The Age of Communication.

We live in an unprecedented and unique point in history. The technologies of man have united to form a global network of communication the likes of which has never existed, and the scope of which can only be imagined into the indefinite future. This week I took it upon myself to experiment with the phenomena of internet based social networking and see just how far someone would have to go to remain in communication with those they care for. It is an amazing age, and I would be remiss in my duties as a chronicler of the human condition not to share my thoughts on it.

Even as communication becomes easier, the content of said communication becomes less valuable. Connected as we are to a network of millions each of us contents with the wash of digital information in varying degrees. For some, their inclusion into the system is not necessary. Facebook is becoming the most prolific example of internet socializing, and recent articles have devoted print to examining an older generations inclusion into it. The articles are ridiculous, and claim that baby boomers including themselves somehow degrades the youthful feel of the site.

What this real indicates is that all generations have a fundamental desire to hear and be heard. To dip their paddle into the datastream and chart a course into the ever changing waters. To me this is a fantastic example of humanities innate desire to commune, and this desire knows no age. We are reaching the cusp of a very interesting synthesis of information and entertainment. For the moment we are still the masters of the information we share. Unadulterated and censored only for the most offensive of content. We are given the ability to share every facet of our existence, or merely play the part of the voyeur, passively watching the ebb and flow of our communities lives daily.

Community and communion is what it boils down to. In a world vexed with terror and uncertainty we are compelled to cling to the stability of the mundane. The Feed progresses mindless of the world around it. Though activists do their part to group the like minded into digital rooms their numbers are relatively few. Even the opportunity to provide food to the third world with but a click has done little to change the unfortunate course of events. We all suspect shams or cons. The internet is a vile and market driven system. Capitalism distilled into advertising advertising advertising. Inundated with the constant barrage of commerce and information it is all we can do to latch onto that which amuses us most.

Perhaps videos of people being tazered. Perhaps articles decrying political extremists. Perhaps photos of loved ones rarely seen, or strangers witnessed without consent. What was once private has become public. What is public has become trademarked. In the shifting sands of legality we rally to protect the only thing that remains valuable, our digital copy. The world has shifted wealth from the tangible to the ephemeral. Collections of music having no physical representation. Archives of photos stored on key chains. The Pod people are winning, it seems, and the artists who ride this crest clutch at whatever value can be maintained and secured.

But the guiltiest of pleasures are provided free of charge. Misfortune and joy shared by all in equal measure. Moment by moment we are all sharing our lives for the amusement of all. But in the torrent of torrents and avalanche of information content is lost and rarely found. Recently word of a friend’s terrible accident was buried by news of sandwiches consumed and haircuts debated. 24 hour news is celebrity padded with information. Missile tests and musicians demise taking equal importance in the eyes of the infotainment pleasure sphere. Encompassing all but explaining nothing.

Instead of progressing into the objective and impartial we are all of us being polarized. In the land of the free minded, the zealot and fanatic are champions to lost causes. Even as the community expands by millions the numbers are aligned against one another to preserve a market that has existed since the beginning of time. Soda wars and keeping up with the Jones on a global scale. We are all victims to it, but participate in the game knowing that to abstain is to remove ourselves from the war.

And the wars are the real victims. Historians account news agencies vivid coverage of the war in Vietnam for it’s eventual popular downfall. Such is not the case in our Brave New World. As long as The Feed remains there is a steadfast grip on the security and continuity of the whole culture. A world away the mayhem continues unabated, but when an icon determines our like or dislike of information none of us are inclined to enjoy the chaos. Or, more likely, we will never be given the option. If a power could unite such a mass to a single cause the waves would ripple into history, but the masses are too informed to hear. The rallying cry of freedom is either lost in the screams for entertainment, or disregarded as futile. A Million Man March is a casual stroll compared to the masses who daily plug themselves in, but a computer commute to the White House has as much chance of reaching the Oval Office as a paper airplane thrown from Idaho.

Passive and complacent we march into the future united and disjointed. Isolated in our lives with a false sense of interaction. What if a Revolution was Youtubed and no one cared? We find ourselves arriving in the future without a sense of tomorrow. Where is it all headed? What is the end game? If we all join face book, what does that portent? Omens of a network apocalypse perhaps. Not a bang, but a whisper of status updates making us numb to the actions of the real. Apathy building on the egocentric to create a universe determined by a list. A world bordered by character count and herded by child shepards who have led us to the stream before the slaughter.

I set out to defy this convention when I made communication with the lot. My exile is not self-imposed but necessary. My connections are more powerful than a simple update. To you who maintain I thank you. To you I hold out the lamp and tell you that the power lies in your hands. As we progress into the tomorrow we are all of us masters of our own destinies. We have the ability and the tools placed in our hands to change the world. You sit at the helm of the most powerful piece of equipment any free person has been given. You are given a voice that will echo into eternity. Archived for all time in subterranean servers and maintained by our posterity as a living history.

With this power I would hope would come a sense of responsibility. Perhaps now that the boomers are in the game they will lend a hand. Generations that have known protest and revolution will share their stories, their hopes, and dreams. Hand in hand and computer to computer we can change the world for the greater if we have but the will to progress and the courage to defy. Convention has no power here. The border between worlds is an illusion. Our avatars are merely shadows cast by fingers on keys. Our bright new futures are only a click away.

In a world where value is information, and information power, this elenchus has given you the ability to move mountains. Thus endowed I give you the mandate to use it for good. Let us use our community to build the fantastic, as our ancestors have done for thousands of years. If chisels can build a pyramid to last millennium, then computers can build a creation to last to the end of time. Build with me now, you fantastic people.


Duke said…
And think the very existence of the internet and it’s ever expanding collection of information is that very thing in motion already. Look at Wikipedia. Few years ago, nobody knew what the crap it was, now there’s millions of pages of information (albeit it questionable) being molded and provided. What exactly do you have in mind? Facebook Kumbaya? A digital version of that thing where we all hold hands across the globe? Facebook and the likes seem little more than an interactive Little Black Book. Perhaps one of those Status chains about plans of your solar dirigible. Started by supporters in an effort to rally interested parties? What are you going for here Liend?! WHAT?!

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